1-Sentence-Summary: Thank You For Being Late helps you slow down and take life at a more reasonable pace by explaining the state of our rapidly changing environment, economy, and technology.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
The world is changing faster than ever. Just over a decade ago, in 2007, the first iPhone had just hit the market. Today, we can see how it completely revolutionized the mobile industry. Our devices are now so much more than just a device to call or text on. Through them, we now have the internet at our fingertips.
Things are changing at an accelerating rate, making it essential that we are ready to adapt to whatever comes. We get negative effects like climate change and shrinking resources. On the other hand, we have the good of technology and globalization that allows us to share great, innovative ideas all around the world in an instant.
In Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman delves into what it means to be living in a world hurtling into the future. He says that if we want to understand these times, we need to understand the three biggest forces at play: technology, globalization, and climate change. All three are accelerating at once and transforming every aspect of our lives.
Here are the 3 best lessons I’ve learned from this book:
- Technology is transforming our world more quickly than ever.
- The globalization of the market allows us to make connections that were previously unfathomable.
- Climate change is a huge threat to our world, but the age of acceleration allows us to address this problem and others better than before.
Looking forward to getting some relief by understanding the hustling world around you? Here we go!
Lesson 1: Technology is accelerating exponentially and changing the world before our eyes.
One testament to just how fast technology is changing is the fact that Friedman says just in doing research to write this book, he had to consult each technologist at least twice to stay up-to-date. This unprecedented growth in technology is already disrupting the world in huge ways.
Friedman shares the example of dairy farmers who are now adapting to the digitization of their industry. Before the emerging technology that they have now, milking cows was a job of manual labor by many workers. Now, we use computers to monitor everything from udders and milk flow to supply chains. Soon, a cow milker may not be as much a farmer in muddy boots milking cows but an analyst of computer data in business-casual.
For instance, a University of Oxford study in 2013 found that a huge 47 percent of jobs in America were at a very high risk of being lost to computers within the next 20 years. New technologies are morphing so fast that even in just five to seven years they become obsolete.
Just think back to a short time ago when everyone seemed to be on MySpace and had Blackberry phones. Can you even think of anyone who uses either of these now?
Though it may not feel like things are changing day-today, just thinking back five years or so can show you how quickly it’s happening.
Lesson 2: Market globalization has given us a vast world of instant connections.
In the days of our parents and grandparents, people earned money by gathering knowledge and skills to deliver a product or a service. All that they needed was education or learning a trade and they could be secured a job for life. Today, things couldn’t be more different. Global flows of commerce and information change rapidly and a product having huge success today could be old news tomorrow.
Our globalized market isn’t just manufacturing and trading goods anymore. It’s about performing transactions and sharing information on the internet. Just think about the millions of daily exchanges between people on platforms such as Airbnb, Facebook, or Uber.
The way in which we are interconnected so readily allows products to go viral like never before. The author shares an example from 2012 where Michelle Obama was photographed wearing a dress from ASOS. Her fashion choice was retweeted no less than 816,000 times and the dress was instantly sold out.
Through these changes, companies that have been around for a long time must shift or go out of business. General Electric has had to adapt and now taps into the global market by running contests that invite people from all around the world to share innovative ideas.
Lesson 3: We face the dangers of climate change but we can use our rapidly changing world to solve problems in ways we never could before.
You’ve probably heard it all before. The world is heating at an unprecedented rate, the oceans are rising, and CO2 is ever-increasing. It’s scary to consider that the climate “sweet spot” that humanity has enjoyed for hundreds of thousands of years is dissolving.
As a result, people are already being displaced due to climate change that results in droughts, accounting for two-thirds of current migration. We are running out of resources and the population is only increasing. Additional people means more homes, food, and power consumption, and even more of a carbon footprint.
It all seems pretty grim, but Friedman gives us cause to be optimistic. Both technology and globalization give most everyone access to the internet which allows us to work together to handle changes and make decisions about the future. We can now collaborate across the world to address these dangers.
He also shares that these changes can help us work toward a common good. He uses his hometown of St. Louis Park in Minnesota as an example. He has seen it transform from an all-white anti-Semitic place to a progressive and multicultural community.
Visionary area leaders built forward-looking social policies and helped support the middle class and school system. When people helped each other with problems, pessimism and prejudices seemed to dissolve. We can all take from this that human cooperation to work toward a common good is the way we can save the future.
Thank You For Being Late Review
Thank You For Being Late ended up being a lot different than I thought it would be from the title. It was still really interesting though and one that I think I’d recommend everybody read. In some ways, our world tries to resist the rapid rate of change we’re experiencing, but we can beat this by looking at all the good going on!
Who would I recommend the Thank You For Being Late summary to?
The 59-year-old who spends too much time on social media and wonders why kids these days are so different than they used to be, the 21-year-old who is studying political science in college, and anyone who feels worried about the future of the world.